Christmas Card 1995

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Border left Muntjac deer Border right
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My photograph for 1995 was of a muntjac deer in a garden artistically spaced between bushes, with ears nicely backlit against a shadowed background and looking cutely at the camera with a thrush in the foreground. Taken in Leckhampton Gardens (Corpus's college gardens & postgraduate campus), Cambridge, UK, in 1995.

The deer were very shy, quiet & elusive. Usually the most that people noticed of them was a vague motion in the undergrowth seen from the corner of ones eye followed by a sudden noise of something unseen darting into the cover of vegetation. I only clearly saw them twice in three years there. Most others there did not believe they existed so when I was lucky enough to see a family of three (two adults and a juvenile) from my bedsit window, I took 3 quick non-artistic reference pictures. I then went quietly out to try for a better photograph. I stalked them by walking smoothly, slowly and continually (stopping suggests to the deer that one has seen them and they immediately flee) not directly towards them (which would scare them) but in a direction that I guessed would intercept their path. I prepared the camera & aligned the view as I went. I knew I would have only one shot as the sound of the SLR shutter & mirror would scare them off. I had guessed their route and behaviour correctly and got a good view of this one side on on a path with good lighting and no ugly features like dustbins in view (for those used to Leckhampton of that time, the wall behind the deer is the north wall of the laundry room). However it had its head down so I gambled on delaying (only half a second or so) my shot after stopping so that the deer alerted, alerted by my stopping, would hopefully briefly look towards me before scarpering. It did so, perfectly, as I pressed the button & it vanished. That was the last time I saw the deer but I had that one good shot in the bag.

This was the first of my now popular and regular photograph Christmas cards. Previously I had drawn pictures but I wanted a colour picture last year (as it looked so much jollier than the previous black & white ones) and that meant painting or drawing each card individually (I only had access to black & white photocopies and printers) and had not thought of a new quick to draw picture as Christmas approached so I lazily used a photograph instead. I took advantage of Jessops offer of printing photographs as self-adhesive labels that not only saved the effort of applying glue but was substantially cheaper than normal 6"x4" bulk reprints. When, to my surprise, I found many recipients preferred my photograph cards to my drawn ones I switched to using photographs for subsequent years.

Camera = Pentax K1000.

I made a border because I was was feeling a bit lazy at using a photograph. I drew it with a felt-tip pen and made it to be basically a plane rectangle but with vegetative corners fitting the natural subject matter.

Downloads

Card assembly instructions to duplicate the original:

  1. Get the full resolution photograph printed at 5.5"x3.7" on photographic paper. If it does not have rounded corners then round them by cutting off the white bits at the corners.
  2. Print the border using a laser printer (or print once and duplicate by photocopier) on A4 160 g/m2 white cardboard.
  3. Fold the printed cardboard into an A5 greetings card with one straight crease.
  4. Glue (or double sided selotape or similar) the photograph to the card in the correct orientation. Take care not to make the photograph too soggy.

Printing the border & photograph together on a colour printer does not give as good results (neither home laser nor inkjet printers have yet reached photographic printing quality). It also costs more (because of the ridiculous current price of printer ink) and gives a more mass-produced look.

More Christmas Cards

For the rest of my Christmas cards, go up to my Christmas card gallery page.